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Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin put the finishing touches on a completely one-sided AMA Superbike weekend at Infineon Raceway this afternoon by running off with his sixth victory of the season. Not once during the entire round -- in practice, qualifying, or the actual racing -- did anyone other than the Australian appear to have a realistic opportunity to claim top honors.

AMA Superbike race results

Mladin cemented those feelings on Sunday afternoon with yet another flawless, wire-to-wire race win. He stormed into the lead from pole, broke free of his pursuers in a matter of corners, and went on to build a massive lead before ultimately winning, all with limited drama.

In a sign of just how unbalanced the series’ hierarchy is at the moment, Mladin later admitted that his goal for the race wasn’t merely to take the checkered flag first, but to open up a 15-second advantage before doing so.

You can’t win them all.

After claiming the 38th AMA Superbike of his career, the five-time champ said, “It was a good weekend for us. The GSX-R1000 -- again, unbelievable. It just works so well. For that race, we just kept pushing all the way until the end. I had a couple laps there with six or seven to go that I put my head down and got right back down to the lap times we did essentially near the start -- Dunlop came up with some good rubber for us today. It was a really, really strong race.

“I had a personal goal of trying to get the lead up to 15 seconds and I got to just on 14 and then caught that big group of lappers with three to go. That’s the way it goes, but it was a good race for us. We’re really happy with the points and can’t wait to get to Colorado next week. We haven't had much luck there before, so we plan on turning that around.”

Fortunately, the race to win the non-Mladin division of the Superbike class was a little less predictable. A number of two-man duels broke out early, with Mladin’s Yoshimura Suzuki teammates, Aaron Yates and Ben Spies, running together in second and third, followed by battles involving Ducati Austin’s Neil Hodgson and American Honda’s Miguel DuHamel (for fourth) and their teammates, Eric Bostrom and Jake Zemke (for sixth).

By lap four, Zemke was clearly a man on the charge. He dropped Bostrom during said circulation of the 2.22-mile raceway and quickly set off after the race for fourth. On lap five, the Californian forced his CBR1000RR past that of DuHamel with a blistering lap in the ‘36s and immediately started hounding Ducati’s former World Superbike star.

A bit further ahead, Yates seemed to be fading and was quickly gobbled up by teammates Spies. As it turns out, the Georgian was actually dropping back strategically and would later turn it back on to reclaim second (up the inside of Turn 11 on the brakes during lap 17 of 28) for good.

Spies made a last-lap bid for the runner-up spot but his plans were spoiled by a bad run of lappers. Still he held on to hand Yoshimura Suzuki their second Superbike podium sweep of '05.

“Just like always, Mat had it going pretty good there and was pulling away,” Yates said after the race. “I decided to see what Ben had so I let him by and rode along. It looked like he might have had a little bit better bike grip, but a couple times on the drive he started stepping out pretty big, and I was watching the laps of the race tick down. It got down to halfway and I thought it was time to go, time to make a break. I did for a lap or two and then we got into lappers. We just brought it home second. The great thing is we got a Suzuki 1-2-3. That’s what we came here to do, and we did.”

The 20-year-old Spies commented after taking third, “I’ve got to give it to my guys; the whole bike was different from yesterday. We changed gearboxes. We changed suspension. It didn’t help not having any data from yesterday’s race because we had some problems in that and never got going. It was good to get through the weekend and get on the podium. Aaron and I had a really good race; I tried to get him on the last lap, but I just messed up with a lapper, but that’s the way things went.”

Zemke finally made his move on Hodgson on lap 14, a pass he made stick despite the Ducati Corse superstar keeping him honest for the remainder of the race.

Following what was easily Zemke’s best sophomore finish yet, he stated, “I didn’t get the best of starts, but the boys have been working hard and we found what we thought was a decent set-up this morning. That was the hardest fourth place I’ve ever gotten in my life. This is really the first time we’ve seen the front group, and if we had been close enough and we’d gotten a little better start we might have been able to run for a podium finish.”

DuHamel carried on to grab a lonely sixth behind Zemke and Hodgson, while second Ducati pilot Bostrom ran home in seventh.

Attack Kawasaki’s Josh Hayes added an eighth-place result to yesterday’s fifth, while Mat Mladin Motorsports’ Marty Craggill aced Hotbodies Honda’s Larry Pegram on the final lap to take ninth.

Heading into next weekend’s AMA Superbike contest at Pikes Peak International Raceway, Mladin holds a 16-point advantage over second-ranked Spies (227 vs. 211). Yates took sole possession of third at 207, while Hodgson dropped to fourth at 201.


May 15, 2005

Chris Martin
 
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